For the last couple of weeks, our city has played host to the Leeds International Film Festival. Hundreds of film screenings have taken place in every nook and cranny of the city, from the Hyde Park Picture House, to Trinity’s Everyman Cinema. On Tuesday 7th November, the Vue Cinema in The Light hosted the UK premier of Gianfranco Cabiddu’s La Stoffa dei Sogni (The Stuff of Dreams), followed by a Q&A session with the director himself.
The film is a beautiful Mediterranean interpretation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and takes place on a prison island just north of Sardinia. The story starts when a boat carrying both an acting company and a group of prisoners is wrecked in a storm, and the survivors wash up on this prison island. When the Governor of the prison catches wind that the prisoners have escaped, he decides to play a game with the group; he asks them to stage none other than The Tempest, so that he can work out which of the group are the real actors, and who should remain on the island as prisoners. This enthralling mixture of deception, dreams and reality echo many of the well-known traits of this famous Shakespearean play, whilst also keeping the film’s contents relevant to modern audiences.
Cabiddu is also known for his movies Faber in Sardegna and Il Figlio di Bakunin, as well as a crime TV series Disegno di Sangue. He spent part of his career as an assistant to Italian arts legend Eduardo de Filippo. His interest in The Tempest started when he began to work on creating a Neapolitan translation of the script with de Filippo. As a tribute to his late maestro, Gianfranco Cabiddu has added a new dimension to this already well-loved tale, incorporating his homeland of Sardinia.
The island seen in the film is Asinara, once a prison island itself, but today home to a national park. In the seminar hosted by the University of Leeds prior to the screening, Cabiddu revealed why he chose this particular island. He said that upon visiting it he just knew that this was the island from The Tempest. As the film shows, this mesmerising Sardinian island depicts not only nature’s beauty, but also its ability to isolate and destroy. La Stoffa dei Sogni explores beautifully the idea of man’s imposition on nature, as well as the linguistic issues that still exist in modern Italy.
La Stoffa dei Sogni won the David di Donatello award this year for Best Adapted script, as well as the Globo d’Oro for Best Film.
The film festival continues until 16th of November, so be sure to catch one of these events around the city!
Image Credit: FilmItalia